Before GCL announced its 5 GW factory plan, German company PSE led a consortium that proposed to set up a 1 GW solar panel manufacturing facility in Egypt after carrying out a feasibility study. In the pic dated May 17, 2017, Dr Sahar Nasr (extreme right) witnessed the signing of contract between the Ministry of Military Production and PSE led consortium (Photo Credit: Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, Egypt)
- GCL Group of China has signed a memorandum of understanding with Egypt's military to set up a 5 GW solar panel manufacturing facility in Egypt
- It will entail an investment of $2 billion, but it is not yet public where this facility might be located or when it is planned to enter commercial operations
- GCL would train and share technical know-how with local Egyptian technicians who would end up operating and maintaining the facility
- Production work at the factory would mean extraction and purification of Egyptian quartz to the final stage of solar cell and panel production
China’s Golden Concord Group Limited (GCL) plans to build a fully vertically-integrated solar panel factory with 5 GW annual production capacity in Egypt. GCL, which is also a vertically integrated PV company and also the world’s largest solar wafer manufacturer, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Egyptian Ministry of Military Production to invest $2 billion for the factory.
Under the agreement, GCL will share technical know-how and train Egyptian technicians to follow international standard for the facility. It will then be independently managed and operated by Egyptians. Minister Mohamed El-Assar said the government and GCL will cooperate on research and development, reported local media.
According to Egypt Independent, for the purpose of the facility, an industrial complex will be established. There will be five stages for panel production, starting from extraction and purification of the Egyptian quartz. In the final stage, solar cells and panels will be manufactured. Local silica sand will be used to manufacture these panels.
There are no details about location or timeline of the fab to be operational.
In May 2017, a consortium led by Germany’s PSE AG proposed to build a 1 GW annual production vertically integrated solar module manufacturing facility in the country, as announced by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation. It wanted to use local Egyptian Silica sand for producing solar panels. A feasibility study was launched post which implementation was scheduled to be carried out.
After quite some teething troubles, Egypt is now quickly progressing with its around 2 GW large Benban solar park. Thinking beyond these feed-in tariff based PV systems, the country now prepares to move towards an auction based system. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) issued expression of interest for consultants to help the government frame an auction based renewable energy procurement mechanism (see EBRD Tender For Egypt PV Auction Design).